Challenge Alert

Lock in $15,000 with your donation by 6:30 p.m.

Donate now

Aetna exits Delaware health insurance marketplace

Listen
 (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Health insurer Aetna is pulling out of Delaware’s health insurance exchange, forcing almost 12,000 Delawareans to find new coverage. 

On Wednesday, Aetna, Inc. told the Delaware Department of Insurance that it would not be participating in the state’s Health Insurance Marketplace in 2018.

Aetna cited financial losses as its main reason for leaving. The country’s third-largest insurer said it experienced a $700 million loss for individual policies between 2014 and 2016, and a $200 million loss for 2017 throughout the United States.

“I am disappointed that Aetna will not be servicing the health needs of Delawareans in 2018. Given the uncertainty and instability surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act, however, I understand their reasoning,” said Trinidad Navarro, Delaware’s insurance commissioner, in a statement. “I would hope that our elected officials in Washington will come up with solutions to guarantee that health insurance in Delaware and elsewhere is both available and affordable. Continuing funding for Cost-Sharing Reductions is a first step in the right direction.”

Republicans are rewriting the Affordable Care Act in Washington. Democrats warn repealing Obamacare will leave millions of Americans without health insurance.

“Instead of following through on his promise to ensure that all Americans would have better and less expensive health insurance, the Trump Administration has done just the opposite by sabotaging the ACA insurance marketplaces in any possible way,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware. “I’ve long said the ACA isn’t perfect, and that we should work together on a bipartisan basis to make it better. Unfortunately, the health care bill passed by the House Republicans last week would weaken consumer protections and make health insurance premiums and deductibles more expensive.”

The bill is headed to the Senate, where the Republican majority has hinted at crafting their own replacement health care bill. 

“I wasn’t part of the Congress when they passed the Affordable Care Act, but I do think it has done great things for our country. It does have flaws that we need to work together to fix,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, on Fox News this morning. “I’m wide open to meeting with any of my colleagues who genuinely want to work across the aisle in a responsible way to fix what’s wrong with the Affordable Care Act.”

Aetna’s departure leaves Delaware with only one insurer in the Marketplace, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Aetna is the latest in a string of health insurance providers to pull out of Obamacare.

“This is something that we’re seeing across the country unfortunately,” said Vince Ryan, spokesman with DOI. “There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of the ACA and the direction of where exchanges are going given the political instability in Washington.”

“It is within this environment we find ourselves today with rising premiums and fewer choices. Delaware families deserve competition and choices when selecting their health insurance,” said U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Delaware. 

There are currently 11,854 Delawareans insured through Aetna’s exchange plans. Coverage will last through the end of 2017. After that time, DOI officials said anyone with a pre-existing condition for which they were begin treated may be able to continue having that treatment covered with that provider.

Consumers who have questions regarding Aetna’s departure are encouraged to contact the Delaware Dept. of Insurance at 1-800-282-8611 or 302-674-7300, or by e-mail at DOI_Consumer_Resource@state.de.us.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.